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Spoilt For Choice on the Diets Buffet ~Sonia Kaurah It’s nearly that time of year again which means over eating during the holidays and a weight loss New Year’s resolution to follow. However the kilos lost usually comes straight back on after New Year’s Day is a distant memory and those expensive diet books and gym memberships are stored away, never to be used again. It appears that every week a new diet craze is blasted through the media usually alongside a skinny celebrity. Currently two thirds of Australians are either overweight or obese and this number is on the rise. Therefore it’s no surprise that the weight loss industry is growing too as next year, Australians are estimated to fork out over $827 million on dieting alone, this includes diets books, foods and gyms to name a few. Fad diets are short term or‘quick fix’ weight loss regimes that make big promises to heavy hopefuls and are made to look easy but in reality is not sustainable. There are countless fad diets out there, so I have chosen to focus on five of the most popular diets today. The 5:2, Mediterranean, Dukan, Paleo and the Raw diet to compare the pros and cons of each to gain a better understanding of how they work and if they could work for you. Best diet: Mediterranean Diet Worst diet: The 5:2 diet Currently research suggests that the best diet is the Mediterranean diet as it promotes more of a healthy lifestyle rather than a diet. And as you can see fad diets are hard work! They are terribly restrictive, causing you to battle your cravings and fatigue and to top it off it affects your social life; as it becomes difficult to ostracize yourself from eating with family and friends or going out to a restaurant. If these diets are continued over a few weeks, it can lead to deficiencies in nutrients which can affect your mood and energy levels. In addition if you restrict yourself too heavily, you are more likely to crave sweet things and sabotage the efforts you've made. Some of these fad diets claim that you can trick your body; however this is far from true. When you deprive your body of calories and fat, it sends off alarm bells and believes it's starving and to protect itself, it slows down your metabolic rate and holds on to what fats it has in fear that it won’t receive any more.

Some of the initial weight loss people experience on a strict fad diet is usually fluid loss, although once they stop the diet and carbohydrates are reintroduced the fluid is regained. Even if fad diets were to work you would miss out on other positives that one would normally gain from maintaining a healthy lifestyle, for example the feel good hormone serotonin released when you exercise, or the muscle definition associated with going to the gym or working out. Your body would be depleted of vitamins and minerals by eliminating certain foods, which would make you feel depressed and lethargic. Finally your body wouldn’t be ‘healthy’, because skinny shouldn’t be the main focus of these diets, it should be to become healthy in addition to loosing weight.

So how should we go about loosing weight? The key is to not deprive ourselves of foods that our bodies need, however focus on cutting out foods that are detrimental to us for example sugar, salt and artificial preservatives. Scientific research shows that permanent weight loss occurs when people adopt long term healthy lifestyle choices. In particular diets that are high in protein and low in sugar have shown to have a significant impact on feeling fuller for longer and the amount of weight loss on a high protein diet is around double the amount lost on a comparable low-fat diet at the six-month mark. Exercise is also important for weight loss, not only does exercise burn calories, it boosts your metabolic rate and reduces hunger. The issues faced with people who are constantly trying new fad diets are that their overall percentage of their body fat increases. This is because when they diet, they lose fat and muscle and liquids and when they stop, they only regain fat, therefore percentage wise, fat is higher. Experts recommend a 80:20 ratio for nutrition and exercise respectively. Below are 7 basic principles that if followed will promote a healthy body and ongoing weight loss.

Dec 2014

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PTW: December 2014  

Critically Acclaimed, Emmy-Award Winner and Peabody-Winner Deeyah Khan shares her story and understanding of Gender Inequality whilst our re...

PTW: December 2014  

Critically Acclaimed, Emmy-Award Winner and Peabody-Winner Deeyah Khan shares her story and understanding of Gender Inequality whilst our re...

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